Orby Chase EP launch with support from Dandelion Tea, All Of Your Ruins & Adam Liddell
Friday 10th June 2016 – Bar Sub, Belfast
Belfast band Orby Chase are about as new to the scene as it gets. Having been together a number of months, the band geared up to launch their debut EP ‘Wolf by the Ears’ on Friday night. Not only did the show mark their first release, it was also their first live show. Not that it showed with their performance and a more than sizeable crowd in attendence.
First on a packed and certainly eclectic bill was singer-songwriter Adam Liddell. Armed with an acoustic guitar and accompanied by a drummer, it’s Liddell’s voice that immediately catches your attention. On the deeper side of the spectrum, his soulful vocals overlay soft, finger-picked folk. Liddell, later joined by two members of Orby Chase on guitar and bass, plays a set consisting mostly of unusual cover choices including ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, ‘Get Low’ and The Police’s ‘Walking on the Moon’. Which is all a bit of a shame, as his closer ‘Tonic and Gin’ is a great and genuine original, leaving us wanting for more.
Second on the bill, in stark contrast to Liddell, are hard rockers All Of Your Ruins. A cinematic intro rises into some effect heavy bass and raw sounding screams from lead vocalist Jamsey Law. While the band’s studio output has good, heavy production it doesn’t come across in this live set. A few technical hiccups and guitar problems aside, Law’s vocal prowess is inconsistent with mic control a problem. The band hasn’t played a live date in their current incarnation so a little rustiness is expected. Last track, ‘Fall’ pumps up the energy to ensure a better end to their set.
Another change in direction in the form of four-piece Dandelion Tea. Like All Of Your Ruins they jumped to our attention in this year’s Kickstart competition, Dandelion Tea impressing us in the live final. The band warm up through their upbeat opener and into new one ’19’. A likeable indie pop track, with some backing synth. By their third or fourth track they’re in a confident swagger, with the tight band backing Mary Anne Farenden’s powerhouse vocals. It’s hard to tell if Farenden is out of breath due to adrenaline, nerves or holding long, long notes. Her soulful vocals hit you immediately, particularly on covers like Four Non Blonde’s ‘What’s Up?’ or the disco of Chaka Khan’s ‘Ain’t Nobody’. First single ‘The Crystal Dawn’ is given a confident playthrough, with bassist Scott Anderson, a picture of enthusiasm throughout, taking lead vocals.
The band are still very much in their early days, their first performance taking place in March this year. Their live performance has developed a lot since then but there’s a bit of a disconnect between the bouncy indie-pop of their originals and their choice of covers. These covers seem more like vehicles for Farenden’s impressive singing, or a band high on performance and keen to keep the crowd dancing, with each track, original and cover, garnering a huge reception from the audience. As the band gains more experience their originals and covers should start to blend into a more consistent sound.
With the stage filling with smoke, lights lowering and a crowd gathering, the night’s headliners Orby Chase take to the stage. Launching straight into the bass driven intro of ‘Short Breath Air Right Now’, it’s a confident beginning as the flamboyantly draped (sunglasses in a dark venue?) Josh Dodge sings “Gonna fly, gonna be, everything I wanted to be”. The first three tracks are a sonic assault with no dead air, as the band soak up the applause and move into the next. There’s an immediate energy to the four-piece, returned in kind by the crowd. The band are clearly well rehearsed for this first performance with many tracks showcasing a formula of drums, bass and Jamie Wright’s reverb-soaked lead guitar before Dodge takes things up a notch with guitar, good old-fashioned showmanship, and vocals that perfectly suit the band’s likeable alt rock sound. Melodic backing vocals from Wright and Matt McQuillan further fill out their sound. Tracks like ‘Derby Girl’ are upbeat and catchy pop rock, while the band bring out a few slower burning songs as well.
Dodge is confident throughout, no more so than on the band’s surprising run-through of ‘Forget About Dre’. It’s telling that while this cover should feel out of place, it doesn’t. Whether it’s the sweaty, summer atmosphere or the band’s confidence, they pull it off. Dodge raps impressively over the band’s rhythms, recruiting a few audience members at the front to rap a few of the lines. Building into a rocker, it falls away to a chorus of “chat shit, get banged”. A well-chosen closer with a big chorus and brings to an end their debut live performance.
With a a big crowd in attendance, some strong supports and a confident first performance, Orby Chase will no doubt be delighted with their EP launch. For our part, it’s fair to say that it would be well worth keeping an eye out for the band’s next show.